Lesson ideas: Take 100 unique shots of the same item and/or in the same location. (The first 50 or so will likely not be so good. After that, students will be forced to think.) Photograph something being made (Lego sculpture, a meal, a painting, etc.) with the camera in a different location in regards to the subject in each photo. Document an outside (not in a car) journey from the point of view of your feet. Capture as many landmarks/areas of interest as possible. Create…Continue Reading “5(ish) Photography Lesson Ideas”

Yesterday  I started documenting my efforts towards making homework enjoyable enough for my students to actually do it for a change. By the end of that post I’d set up a weekly assignment where students made a video series as if they were YouTube stars. There was a definite increase in participation and quality, but I wasn’t quite done. Binge Watching Isn’t So Bad. I started by taking all of the homework videos submitted over the previous week and throwing them in a folder in…Continue Reading “Getting Homework to Work, Part 2”

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been experimenting with letting kids grade student work. The whole journey will take more time to tell than I feel comfortable putting in a single blog post, so I’ve split it into parts. I’m not at a point where I’d say I have a perfect system, but then show me an educator who does. If you don’t want something done, call it “Homework.” It all started with my homework. All year, my Media Arts students have been…Continue Reading “Getting Homework to Work, Part 1”

In the near future, I’m going to be sharing some spam with my students, and not for the reason you’d think I’d do it. While teaching how to tell the difference between actual important emails and unsolicited commercial and/or malicious emails is important, that won’t be the primary goal. In addition to everything else I teach, part of my curriculum involves criticism. We as a culture of consumers frequently elevate critique itself into an art form – one so high that we generalize its practitioners…Continue Reading “Teaching Criticism With Spam”

One of the (many) cool things about NASA is that, as a government-run organization, media created by NASA is  considered public domain. There are a few exceptions to this (mainly when NASA works with a company or university, the resulting works might be copyrighted by the other party…), but it still makes NASA a wonderful  source for legal content that students can include in their projects. And now, you can search through all of their wonderful images, videos, and audio files on the official NASA…Continue Reading “Download NASA Photos, Videos, & Audio For FREE!”

I blogged a while back about OpenShot, which is open source, cross-platform, and still not bad for some things. Are you stuck with 32bit computers? Use OpenShot. For everything else… use HitFilm Express. HitFilm Express is a robust, cross-platform, non-linear video editor capable of rendering multiple tracks of audio and video, applying chroma key, moving/cropping where video appears on the screen, and a bunch of other effects that I’ve never needed. Oh, and it’s 100% free. Free as in teachers should get their hands on…Continue Reading “Edit Video For Free With HitFilm Express”

“It’s not the camera that takes the photo, it’s the photographer.” This or something like it is said a lot by photographers. Sure, a really expensive camera can help, but give an experienced photog a point-and-click disposable film camera from a bygone era and they’ll still crank out a few shots worth remembering. So I was kind of shocked when I, first learning the difference between taking a good photo and wasting developer fluid, learned that my camera was already doing some of the thinking…Continue Reading “How Much Of Your Photo Is Your Choice?”

If we don’t teach our students about respecting the copyrights of artists, who will? Although this case is a bit of a grey area. “I attend breaking news stories across the county of Sussex as my role as a full time bonafide news-gatherer,” he wrote in a letter to the court. “In this case one of the firefighters asked if he could tweet a picture of mine I said yes, he did, and this is the picture that Sky News embedded on their website, for…Continue Reading “Is Sharing Still Theft If It’s A Site Feature?”

Archive.org screen capture

I’ve loved Archive.org for a lot of reasons over the years. Many of my early podcast files are hosted there for free,  their Wayback Machine lets you see older versions of almost any website (but not my first site, as it went down before they  could get to it, THANK GOODNESS!),  I have lost far too much of my free time to their large collection of emulated DOS games (Oregon Trail? Oregon Trail!),  but now I’ve found out about THIS. Apparently the  Guggenheim Museum has…Continue Reading “Free Art Books on Archive.org”

Teachers all have their pet peeves, rules that are not to be broken at any cost. At this point I think I’ve taught enough Media Arts curriculum to list mine. I plan to print these out and put them on my wall for next year. Respect the intellectual property of others. (Cite sources, don’t use anything without written permission.) Black borders are to be avoided. (Video, with very specific exceptions, is a HORIZONTAL format.) Talking heads are to be avoided. (People can be on camera, but…Continue Reading “10 Commandments of Media Arts”